Date Released: 31 October 2014
SIPTU has repeated its call on the Government to defer the water charge payment due in Spring of 2015. SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor, said that each family must be guaranteed a free and adequate supply of treated water to meet its normal domestic needs. He said that the Government must find a way of providing for the new investment required to fund the provision of the treated water supply while retaining it in public control and ownership.
The SIPTU President also said that he fully understands, and empathises, with those who plan to participate in the demonstrations tomorrow (Saturday, 1st November) against the water charge regime. He said, however, that the union favours the refundable tax credit concept to offset the cost of each person’s normal requirement for water. This is the best way of minimising the cost to the people of Ireland because otherwise the public water supply will cost more not less. He also said that the Government chose to ignore trade union proposals for this refundable Tax Credit which could have ensured that normal domestic needs are covered while encouraging users to conserve water and reduce waste.
“We have said that the proposed charging structure is profoundly regressive and inequitable and that is a view shared by the tens of thousands of people who are expected to come out and protest tomorrow. The impact of these charges affects those on lower to middle incomes to a much greater degree than wealthy people. There are far too many people who simply cannot pay and too many more who will find it extremely difficult to do so,” Jack O’Connor said.
“We want the Government to defer the water charge due in the Spring of next year and to devise a method of offsetting the full cost of providing an adequate supply of treated water to meet normal domestic needs. At the same time it needs to find a way of providing the investment to fix the infrastructure and create a modern water supply system in public ownership.”